~Cornbread Chip~’s Personal Journal, Day 81 in the Land of Ponies
Local date: ~Autumn 42, Year 2 of the Fourth Era~
Earth’s Date: November 3, 2012.
I’m starting a new format today: I will start using my new pony name, and will start dating my journals according to local date.
I may have known so for a good week now, but the best translation for my name is “Tortilla Chip”. On the downside, I think the local word ~cornbread~ doesn’t actually mean ‘tortilla’, but something more akin to being a generic word meaning ‘bread made from maize’. On the upside, though, it makes sense within local naming conventions; the ponies can pronounce it with no problems (rather that keep mangling the word “Nacho”); and it’s a lot better than trying to go by a literal translation of my full name: “set on fire/idiot” “lawless man”, “son of the man who makes flower arrangements” “kingfisher of the open field”.
The date line translates as ‘42nd day of Fall season, 2nd year of the 4th Epoch’. And the local date format is rather peculiar: like old Japanese format, where the ruler can choose to reset the calendar after a significant enough historical event. As I understand it so far, the First Epoch was the reign of the “Old Queen ~Faust~ the Civilizer” (the mother of the current princesses), lasted some four thousand years and ended with her death. The Second Epoch thus started being counted: the current rulers were apparently infants at Year One, so the kingdom apparently dissolved into anarchy and a classist society, until the ladies had matured enough to take power (apparently they were officially crowned in 437 2ndEpoch). The Third Epoch started on Summer Solstice of the year 1981 of the Second Epoch, when the two princesses waged war on each other, resulting in Solaria banishing Selene. And now the Fourth Epoch began two years ago, when Selene returned from her banishment on Summer Solstice, Year 1000 of the Third Epoch.
I don’t know if the princesses are really immortal, but I have seen them doing the feats of actually raising and lowering the sun and the moon. Either that, or they are such incredibly powerful illusionists that they can nudge their apparent positions by several tens of degrees, making sundials useless. In short, they are as good as goddesses as far as I’m concerned. Besides, in a world where magic is real, I can’t dismiss the possibility of immortal, living goddesses.
By the way, I would know that sundials are useless: I tried making one to mark teatime (5 PM twice a week, which is the moment when the kitchens ring a crystal bell organ and castle life dies, and which is kept accurately enough through mechanical clocks that I could set my watch by it), then discarded it in disgust after a couple of weeks.
Ah, and to think that, for the longest time, I thought the Night Princess to be the daughter of the Day Queen. Today I learned that they are sisters, and equals, and their royal titles actually mean ‘Princess’ rather than ‘Queen’.At least now it makes sense to look at the two equal thrones in the throne room.
And, just to underline the issue: the two empresses who control a third of their planet, do not claim the title of empress or the title of queen: they only claim titles of princesses, and thus their humongous empire is officially a principality!
Have I mentioned that I feel humbled by these princesses? That their humility makes me feel like a heel? That I feel confident that when I start to invent explosives, these will not be weaponized outside of utmost desperation?
~Behold Princess Luna!~
(All Hail Princess Selene!)
~Behold Princess Celestia!~
(All Hail Princess Solaria!)
Whatever: I will be going to sleep shortly.
~My herd protects me.
I am safe.
I need not to sleep-stand.
I can ride my bed rather than pull it as I travel to the Dream Realms.
May my dreams be safe from the Nightmare.~
This rhyme apparently is equivalent to a child's bedtime prayer:
"Now that I go down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.
On a related note, I seem to be holding my alcohol better. Not much, but better. Hikaru was feeling down, so I put him under the table. Or however the English expression goes. Or, as the pony expression goes, ~watered him until he would drink his own piss~.
I also made sure that Good Listener didn't pass out on top of a human this time.
~Cornbread Chip~’s Personal Journal, Day 85 in the Land of Ponies
~Autumn 46, Year 2 of the Fourth Era~
Earth's Date: November 7, 2012.
ERRATA FROM YESTERDAY: Ponies DO have explosives. I’ve seen fireworks being used. It is just that gunpowder has not been weaponized.
Today I had a rather… interesting experience with Princess Solaria: after closing court, I saw that she needed a massage, so I provided it.
My hands hurt at the moment (trying to knead her neck was like trying to massage a waterlogged sandbag) so, provided that I’m not arrested, I’ll be writing a better description tomorrow.
~Cornbread Chip~’s Personal Journal, Day 87in the Land of Ponies
~Autumn 48, Year 2 of the Fourth Era~
Earth’s Date: November 9, 2012.
Indeed, I was arrested. Some white-on-blond metrosexual noble had me pulled out of lunch yesterday and dragged me to the dungeon. I didn't quite get his rant (between his posh accent and his rapid-fire ramble), but I got that he was choleric about me having abused the princess, putting her through a “commoner's after-bath”.
Thus, I learned that massages aren't completely unheard of, but that they are considered undignified.
I got around twenty-four hours before I was officially released, plus some six more until I actually decided to walk out. I also got to see how much favour I have gained around the castle: first, the rest of my lunch followed me to the dungeon almost as soon as I came down. Later, nobody even insinuated a negative when, less than an hour after I had been imprisoned, a contingent of maids came down to the dungeon and added creature comforts to my cell (starting by an incensory, to quell the Spaniards’ stench). Then dinner came to my cell: the maids made a point there to feed me like a king, even bringing down tablecloths, candelabra and a few spirits that they browbeated me into drinking.
And they browbeated me into drinking, deeply. I never tried to make a secret that I will obey a matronly lady, and here I had a half dozen of them acting like I was a misbehaving child that would refuse to eat his broccoli. I never had a chance.
I got up hung-over this morning, refused a mostly alcoholic breakfast and weathered my hangover until noon, when Princess Solaria appeared inside the dungeon dragging the upstart noble, tossing him into the cell in front of mine and, in plain view of him, arranging with me to have a weekly massage appointment. She also told the warden that the upstart was to be imprisoned twice as long as I had been, and that I was free to go whenever I wanted.
Once she left, the warden made to open my door, but I asked him not to, and requested that a message was sent to Princess Selene that I would be imprisoned until she released me.
And a little before dinnertime, she arrived. She was quite bemused and looked like she had just woken up, so I just told her that her sister had just contracted me for weekly sessions of ‘muscle relaxation exercises’ and that it would have been unkind from me to not offer her a free session before talking about duplicating the service contract.
Thus five days from now, before dinner, I will be guided to the Royal Apartments to provide a massage to the Night Princess. Which also means that for the next five days I will be panicking, trying to come up with tools and techniques that will provide a regular human the leverage necessary to give a full sized horse a proper Swedish backrub.
I currently wish I had ever bothered to check how Kobe cows are raised: Kobe beef is considered the world's very best, bar none, because the cows receive periodic massages throughout their lives.
I think that, so far, the only bad thing about me having been imprisoned is that I had to spend a long time in proximity to the Spaniards. Thankfully they avoid speaking to me (the hypocrites call me the mutually-exclusive labels of “barbarian” and “heretic”), but I still had to meditate just to keep my mind away from them.
I can’t figure out which of them I hate the most: the Conquistador is from Francisco Pizarro’s expedition, a gang that went down in history with personal average body counts rising into the hundreds.And what a justice they faced for their atrocities: Pizarro himself ended up as viceroy to Peru once the colony was established. The Inquisitor, on the other hand, could be worse: his institution had three hundred years of subjugation to burn all indigenous knowledge and to trample their spirit until my ancestors, once proud engineers who invented land reclamation in the 11th Century and built “The Rome of the New World” in the middle of a lake, were barely good enough to do mediocre pottery inside adobe huts. And never forget that their systematic extermination of “demon worshipping” medicine-men dropped life expectancies from 70 years to 40!
Whatever. I just had a luxurious supper of eggplant and tubers on apple caramel, chased down by a flute of sparkling cider. I miss meat, but I can also say that I love the food here.
And I am not sure if I need to say it again: the alcohol here goes down like liquid silk, but it then hits as hard as a boot to the face!